Sunday, July 16, 2017

'Tides' Turn

St. Mary's lighthouse, Whitley Bay, Northumberland.
Review by Bill Doughty

"Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean" by Jonathan White (Trinity University Press, 2017):

"Although we think of ourselves as sailing across the ocean's surface, we are also sailing down the low tide's valleys and up the high tide's mountains."

"Large or small, the tide is always on the move, swelling against one coast while shrinking from another. It never begins and never ends."

Can we fully understand the mysteries of time and tides?

Aristotle was mesmerized and "perplexed" by tides and currents. Maori of New Zealand believed a woman-god who lived on the moon caused the rise and fall of the tides. Ancient Chinese saw the Milky Way as a great waterwheel that filled the oceans, and the tides as "caused by a sea serpent slithering in and out of its cave."

For the Mayans, a giant crab stirring caused the tides. Plato believed the earth was a large animal and "the tides were the sloshing of its inner fluids."

Superstitions ruled the world before the age of enlightenment, when science began to explain some of the mysteries of the universe, including the nature of the planets and the powerful relationship between our planet and its moon.

Newton discovered the "ghostly force called gravity" as the unseen cause of the tides.

Leonardo da Vinci (and recently Adm. James Stavridis) compared the oceans to lungs, vital to life on earth.

In "Tides" Jonathan White explores the history, science and study of tides, with short detours to examine Newton's death mask, contemplate gifted Polynesian navigators, listen to acoustic resonance in the ocean, observe a coming-of-age ceremony in the Caribbean, and jump in for discussion of big-wave surfing at Mavericks, California. 

He examines treacherous tides, rapids and passages, including Vancouver's Ripple Rock, which claimed the U.S. Navy steamer Saranac in 1875. "A crewmember wrote, 'Here the contending currents take a vessel by the nose and swing her from port to starboard and from starboard to port as a terrier shakes a rat.'" Over the decades Ripple Rock killed at least 144 people, until the rock was blown up and obliterated in 1958.

Rene Descartes
The quality of White's prose and his exploration of science are a joy for readers. Books/authors in epigraphs and text include:

  • John Steinbeck's "The Log from the Sea of Cortez"
  • Sir Walter Scott's "Redgauntlet"
  • The Bible -- story of Moses [in Bruce Parker's "The Power of the Sea"]
  • James Frazer's "The Golden Bough"
  • Pliny's "Natural History"
  • Benjamin Franklin's observation about wind and waves
  • Newton, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Hugo, Bacon, Milton, Laplace, Whewel, Harris, "and scores of others" who championed science in the face of religious persecution

Some of the interesting science revealed in "Tides":

  • Four zones of tidal exposure
  • Grunion runs in southern California and northern Baja
  • The fact that the Atlantic is tied to the moon, and the Pacific is tied to the sun (Tied tides?)
  • The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, off France's Normandy coast, with its 45-foot tidal range
  • Qiantang River bore-watching in China, where the tide comes in not in six hours but in six seconds.
  • One can be killed fighting a tide
  • The tide always turns.
  • Friction and energy run deep:

"Through friction, (the tide) loses energy – lots of it. Some is absorbed in the ocean floor as heat, but most of it exerts a torque on the earth's rotation, slowing ever so slightly the length of our days and, in turn, causing the moon to speed up and spiral away. Thus, the moon, which causes the tide, is in turn pushed away by the tide. What we witness when we sail through narrows is friction at work. Every whirlpool, every eddy, every dimple of tension is evidence of energy moving from the moon to the water and back to the moon."
White explores the potential of renewable energy and the future possibilities of tide, wind and wave energy.

The Kennedy administration examined tide energy possibilities in the early 1960s in coordination with Canada to address the energy needs of New England. 

"Harnessing the energy of the tides," Kennedy said, "is an exciting technological undertaking ... Each day, over a million kilowatts of power surge in and out of he Passamaquoddy Bay. Man needs only to exercise his engineering ingenuity to convert the ocean's surge into a great national asset."

According to White, "Kennedy's bold advocacy of tide energy ended abruptly with his assassination in November 1963, just four months after his groundbreaking speech at the White House." That speech included this insight from former naval officer President Kennedy: "The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were."

Does a nautilus shell transcribe the nature of tides?
White explores not only the evolution of nature as discovered by Charles Darwin, but also the nature of evolution in dynamic environments, including the early formation of life. "What if we were born in a tidepool and our attraction to the sea is a coming home."

He asks: Can evidence of the earth's rotational history be found in coral and nautilus sea creatures? Can accelerating climate change be stopped in time to prevent increasing rises in sea level?
"Sea level itself is a slippery concept – not at all easy to distill into definitive measurements or predictions. The sea, in fact, is not level. It doesn't lie flat like undisturbed water in a bathtub or pool but piles up in one place and retreats from another. The western Pacific is about three feet higher than the eastern Pacific (due to the northeast trade winds), and the eastern Pacific is ten inches higher than the Atlantic. On the U.S. Atlantic coast, sea levels slope downward from south to north by four or five inches. Different landmasses, due to variations in density and gravitational pull, force seawater this way or that. The oceans are lifted by the Himalayas and Andes and sucked downward by undersea mountain ranges. In the Pacific during El NiƱo years, when the trade winds relax, seawater that had been pushed westward sloshes back eastward, bringing higher ocean levels to the U.S. west coast."
Kircher's 1646 "shadowdial" shows the yin and yang of moon phases.
White takes us from Alaska and the Arctic, to India and China; from France and UK, to Suriname and Venice; and to oceans, rivers and bays, including the Bay of Fundy in Canada. 

Science and spirit: He examines how tides were described by ancient monks and scholars, including in "The Selenic Shadowdial or the Process of Lunation" from Athanasius Kircher's "Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae" (1646). And he contemplates how the tides influence biology.

The book begins and ends with what can be revealed in the life, bodies and "internal clocks" of mudshrimp, Corophium, that are the size of rice grains. These translucent organisms' lifecycles are tied to tides, as is are the lives of the sandpipers who feed on the tiny shrimp. 

Marine animals and birds aren't the only ones influenced by the tides; "More than half the world's population lives on or near the coast, and there is no coast or ocean without a tide," White writes.

"The economic and scientific, social and biological dynamics at play here are also at play for billions of people across our watery planet."

White concludes: The tide teaches. The tide vibrates. The tide lives. And the tide can kill.

The Kuna Yala people in Panama are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. (Courtesy Jonathan White)

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Stavridis on 'Sea Power,' Service

by Bill Doughty

Retired Admiral James Stavridis told NPR's Steve Inskeep last month, "You know what you see when you look out the bridge of a ship? You see eternity."

He spoke about being a young ship handler coming into Pearl Harbor for the first time, and seeing the experience as a lesson in not being “overly impulsive,” not acting unilaterally, and instead relying on the power of teamwork. “It's a powerful metaphor for almost everything in life.”

In a talk to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Policy on June 5, Stavridis says, "Sea Power is at the heart of American Power":

We are a maritime nation in an ocean-reliant world.  

Stavridis, a surface warfare officer and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, takes readers on a personal journey at sea and on the world stage, reflecting how the seas have shaped who we are today.

The author of "Sea Power" (Penguin Press, 2017) has a wide and long vision. His book is subtitled, "The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans."
He calls the oceans the "lungs" of the earth. He notes that 95 percent of the world's trade is by sea. And, he shows that today's potential conflict flashpoints are tied to the waters: western Pacific (North Korea), Arctic (as climate change creates new sea routes), Indian Ocean ("a space of geopolitical criticality), South China Sea (with key sea lanes), eastern Mediterranean Sea (which "has seen more war than any other sea space on earth").
He looks at the Caribbean as a region shared by many people "of the America's" and a zone of partnership. And he singles out India as a hopeful beacon for the future of democracy. He is an advocate of humanitarian missions as good investments for a more peaceful world.

Earlier this year Stavridis served as a keynote speaker at West 2017, where he spoke about what we need for interconnected global and national security:

He facilitated a discussion with the chiefs of the sea services, too, posing and leading questions with the commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard and with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson:

In April 2017, he presented the commencement address at Dickinson College and spoke about education, political diplomacy, humanitarian medical care, entrepreneurial spirit, freedom of the press, and volunteerism. The theme is the importance of service, exemplified by the Greek general Themistocles and his army/navy in defeating Xerxes and the Persians in 480 BCE:

In a fascinating talk at the Naval War College in 2014, Stavridis, who is now Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, spoke about the importance of building bridges in the modern world:

In his "Sea Power," Stavridis brings the legacy and insights of Mahan into the 21st century, expanding Mahan's critical thinking to include not only history, but also literature, environment and future-focused thinking – including the role and threat of cyber warfare. We look forward to reading and learning more.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Woman's Place...

Review by Bill Doughty

... is "Serving Proudly."

This "History of Women in the U.S. Navy" by Susan H. Godson (Naval Institute Press, 2001) shows how women's roles evolved in the sea service, especially at first in Navy medicine.

Women served in defense of the nation even before there was a United States Navy, but women like Clara Barton (for the United States in the War of 1812) and Florence Nightingale (for Britain in the Crimean War) proved the value of women near the battlefield in the early and mid 1800s. By the end of the century, during the Spanish-American War, the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps was created (1898). 

The book opens with an epigraph by Rear Adm. Grace M. Hopper: "The highest award I have received is serving proudly in the U.S. Navy."
"By the end of the nineteenth century, the U.S. Navy had developed into a world-class naval power with fleets to sail and colonies to administer. The Navy's evolution had been uneven and sporadic, and growth had depended on external threats or, by the 1890s, on markets to open, colonies to supervise, and primitive people to uplift. Concurrently, training and requirements for officers and men had become professionalized... But the Medical Department still lacked a vital element: professionally trained nurses – those women who had taken two- or three-year courses in hospital training schools. Nursing, along with teaching and social work, was one of the few professions open to women. During the nineteenth century, many women emerged from their prescribed sphere and went into reform movements, clubs and associations, and higher education. And they were no strangers to the seafaring life; they had been in virtually all types of vessels, both private and naval. The Navy needed professional nurses, and such women had proven their worth during the Spanish-American War. Could the two, in fact, be mutually beneficial?"
In 1908 the Navy Nurse Corps was born. Esther Voorhees Hasson, Lenah S. Higbee and J. Beatrice Bowman were the first superintendents.

Godson examines the Navy's influence in breaking down walls, promoting education and progressing toward greater equality for women throughout the 20th century. 
"During World War I, the U.S. Navy grew in men and ships to address the demands of the European conflagration. How it met wartime requirements depended largely on Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. Because of his vision and boldness, the Navy embarked on the temporary and unprecedented wartime expedient of bringing women into its enlisted ranks as yeomen (F) and Marine Reservists (F). Those women who entered the naval service had no idea that they were pioneers. They joined the Navy because the country needed their talents."
The author relates the early influence of civilians Margaret Sanger, who "launched the birth control movement, which gave women the knowledge and ability to control family size;" Alice Paul whose party proposed an equal rights amendment; and Eleanor Roosevelt, who championed social-welfare causes.

"A dramatic breakthrough for women" came during the Second World War, when some 350,000 women served in the military ashore. Women throughout the nation saw greater opportunity serving in the industrial sector. Of course, it was in WWII that  WAVES – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service – was created, in the face of quite a bit of resistance to change.

The Marine Corps, part of the Department of the Navy, was most recalcitrant about integrating women into its ranks. Although only a small number of women Marines were allowed to serve temporarily during the First World War in the Reserves, they were welcomed back in 1943, again in support roles, separate but unequal.

WAVES march in a parade for Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and Medal of Honor veterans in New York City, Oct. 9, 1945. (NHHC)

After the war, pioneers like Cmdr. Joy Bright Hancock "firmly believed that women should be allowed to serve in the regular Navy as a regular career." She traveled around the country, coordinated with the newly formed Department of Defense, and lobbied Congress, causing the "House Armed Services Committee to run up the white flag."

Women were in a "holding pattern" mid-century, but the 60s brought about great change in civil rights, including for women, and the Navy was in the forefront of the changes. A small number of WAVES served in support roles in Vietnam, but "the Navy never hesitated to dispatch nurses to the war zone," according to Godson. The 70s brought more demonstrations, class-action lawsuits and a "new brand of feminism," resulting in the Equal Opportunity Act and the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), which "represented another victory for equality."

"Guiding the Navy from 1970 to 1974 was CNO Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., who undertook to modernize both the fleet and personnel policies... Zumwalt issued the famous (or infamous) Z-116 on 7 August (1972), giving equal rights and opportunities to Navy Women," Godson writes.

Zumwalt opened the U.S. Naval Academy to women and opened avenues for women to be able to achieve flag rank. Once again, Navy Medicine was in the lead with the first women allowed to serve aboard ships going aboard the hospital ship USS Sanctuary (AH-17). The Navy's newest warship in early 2017 is named for the visionary Navy leader. According to the Navy, "USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) is the largest and most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world."

The 80s were a period of entrenchment, with greater participation and new roles for women in the Navy, leading to the early 90s and the repeal of combat exclusion for women, thanks to Rep. Patricia Schroeder, DACOWITS (The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services) and Secretary of Defense Les Aspin.

Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, Commander U.S. Third Fleet.
Godson's book ends on a hopeful note as she wonders about the "long-term impact of these sweeping changes" (initiated more than twenty years ago). She reflects on women's achievements in the first Gulf War, at sea, in aviation, at the Naval Academy, and of course in the Navy Nurse Corps.
"The story of all Navy women is one of dedication and valor. They proudly chose to serve their country as part of the U.S. Navy and pursued their goal with dogged determination. They would not be denied such an honorable calling. As in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women's familiarity with maritime matters and their nursing skills have made them essential to the naval service. Tributes to their service have been many. One of the most touching came in 1996, when the Navy named the guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) in honor of Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, who had led the Navy into the computer age. And in the fall of 1997, a lasting monument to Navy woman, as well as to all 1.8 million women who have served in the military was dedicated: the women in Military Service for America Memorial at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, which stands as a fitting reminder of all women who have volunteered to defend American freedom."
Working with renowned Navy historians such as Jan K. Herman, Robert J. Schneller, Dean C. Allard and Edward J. Marolda, Godson provides a wealth of information and some great photos in "Serving Proudly."

She presents controversial issues such as sexual harassment, sexism, discrimination against lesbians and uniform issues. And she gives a wide-ranging history of the progress women have made in and out of the Navy, acknowledging that the history of women in the military is still being written.

Commodore Grace Hopper, special assistant to the commander, Naval Data Automation Command, gives an autograph and a length of wire representing distance an electron moves in an nanosecond during groundbreaking ceremonies for the Grace M. Hopper Navy Regional Data Automation Center at Naval Air Station, North Island, California, Sept. 27, 1985. Photo by PH2 Michael Flynn, Naval History and Heritage Command.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

'Strategy' in Shadow of Hitler and in Light of Star Wars

Review by Bill Doughty

The opening lines of B. H. Liddell Hart's "Strategy" (Faber and Faber, 1954, 1967) is by Sun Tzu, from "The Art of War": "All warfare is based on deception." The quote is one of a baker's dozen from Sun Tzu's "Art of War" that makes up a sort of extended epigraph to "Strategy."

Another is: "In all fighting the direct method may be used for joining battle but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory."

Hart, then methodically presents examples of leaders, battles and wars that exemplify those principles, first outlined in China around 500 BCE.

At nearly the same time in history, the Persians drew Athens out to do battle at Marathon, weakening their core. Classic deception. (By the way, the Rebel Alliance did something similar in Star Wars: Rogue One – where indirect warfare, subterfuge and diversion was purposefully part of the strategy and tactics.) Don't force the Force.

Centuries later the Mongols employed "the best example of strategy in the Middle Ages." Hart writes, "In scale and quality, in surprise and mobility, in the strategical and in the tactical indirect approach, their campaign rivals or surpasses any in history."

Mussolini rides with Adolf Hitler in 1940. (Photo from National Archives)
Nationalist authoritarian Adolf Hitler's record before the outbreak of actual war was in 1939 was successful (from a Nazi perspective) when he used indirect methods of engagement. Hitler fomented fear, anger and hate that eventually led to suffering and mass death.

Through lies, false promises and indirect use of force, Hitler succeeded by taking Belgium and other less protected countries before going after France and Great Britain. But France failed under "notorious Plan XVII," using a direct approach against Germany's might.

Hart notes, "Later, (Hitler) gave his opponents ample opportunity to exploit the indirect approach against him."
Sun Tzu

Hitler is one among a Eurocentric Who's Who of leaders Hart examines: Bismarck, Napoleon, Miliades, Alexander, Caesar, William of Normandy, Edward, du Guesclin, Sabutai, Cromwell, Turenne, Marlborough, Frederick, Wellington, Allenby, Lawrence, Pershing, Ludendorff, Guderian, Rommel, and Zhukov, among others.

While Hart touches on the war in the Pacific and Yamamoto's use of indirect tactics, he doesn't mention the decisive Battle of Midway, an exemplar of winning strategy and tactics.

There's a bit of irony there, since the seeds for successful strategy come from the East to the West – Sun Tzu and Genghis Khan and the Mongols being cases in point.

In his multi-trilogy mythology phenomenon "Star Wars," George Lucas explores the impact of Eastern teachings in warfighting. In the attitudes and attributes of Jedi Masters like Yoda we see the mythic wisdom and playful joy of Zhaozhou (Joshu in Japanese), coupled with Eastern martial arts. Lucas speaks through Yoda: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Hart focuses more on Britain and Germany and seems to channel Clausewitz. Hart's skill is matching a pedestrian recitation of history with deeply planted insights worth quoting in their own right. For example:

"In war, as in wrestling, the attempt to throw the opponent without loosening his foothold and upsetting his balance results in self-exhaustion, increasing in disproportionate ratio to the effective strain put upon him."

"In most campaigns the dislocation of the enemy's psychological and physical balance has been the vital prelude to a successful attempt at his overthrow."

"Helplessness induces hopelessness, and history attests the loss of hope, not loss of lives, is what decides the issue of war."

"The most effective indirect approach is one that lures or startles the opponent into a false move – so that, as in jyu-jitsu, his own effort is turned into the lever of his overthrow."

"Two historic lessons – that a joint is the most sensitive and profitable point of attack, and that a penetration between two forces or units is more dangerous if they are assembled shoulder to shoulder than if they are widely separated and organically separate."

"Force can always crush force, given sufficient superiority in strength or skill. It cannot crush ideas."

Hart concludes by examining theories of strategy, military strategy, and grand strategy; the relationship of strategy to policy; the difference of strategy, tactics, object, and national aim; and the balance of offense and defense.

Nazis march after successfully invading Poland. (National Archives)
First published just nine years after the end of the Second World War it is understandable that the heart of Hart's examination of warfare pierces the nearly contemporaneous rise and fall of the Third Reich. Hitler's shadow still seemed to loom over the Western world in 1954 even as fear of global communism grew.

Hitler's "flair for offensive strategy was not matched by a corresponding sense of defensive strategy. The immensity of his earlier successes led him, as Napoleon had been led, to believe that the offensive offered a solution of all problems," Hart writes.
"Hitler gave the art of offensive strategy a new development. He also mastered better than any of his opponents, the first stage of grand strategy – that of developing and coordinating all forms of warlike activity and all the possible instruments which may be used to operate against the enemy’s will. But like Napoleon he had an inadequate grasp of the higher level of grand strategy – that of conducting war with a far-sighted regard to the state of the peace that will follow. To do this effectively, a man must be more than a strategist; he must be a leader and a philosopher combined. While strategy is the very opposite of morality, as it is largely concerned with the art of deception, grand strategy tends to coincide with morality: through having always to keep in view the ultimate goal of the efforts it is directing."
Hitler in-Vader
The Nazi empire under Hitler spread "germs of resentment from which resistance to their ideas would develop." Is the Islamic State (ISIL, ISIS, DAESH) or Al Qaeda or other militant extremists any different? Fear+Anger+Hate=Suffering.

How did the Empire create resistance and a rebel alliance in George Lucas's world, and how did the heroes come together to defeat evil villains in the name of hope for a better future? It's explained (or foreshadowed) in "Strategy."

"Strategy" is featured in the "canon" of books recommended by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson in the Navy Professional Reading Program.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Navy Watches: Isoroku Yamamoto

Review by Bill Doughty

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, a man opposed to war with the United States, was assigned to start the war at Pearl Harbor and oversee the attack at the Battle of Midway.

A Japanese film now out on DVD, "Isoroku" (Toei, 2011), uses Yamamoto's rediscovered diary to tell the history of the Japanese navy's involvement in the war in the Pacific, including the navy's opposition to the Tripartite pact with Nazi Germany and Italy. The film highlights Yamamoto's leadership as commander-in-chief of the Japanese Imperial Navy Combined Fleet during the early years of the Pacific War. "Isoroku" is directed by Izuru Narushima and stars Koji Yakusho.

The film is well produced, directed, translated and acted and is filled with quotes from Yamamoto, including this found haiku, which Yamamoto gave to a newspaper writer: 

"Open wide your eyes,
your ears, and your heart when you
look around the world"

The real Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto
"Isoroku" shows how economic depression, xenophobia, income disparity, and loss of faith in leaders led Japan to embrace tyranny and an ill-conceived war, one which Yamamoto tried to prevent. The film explores the Imperial Japanese army's culpability, the role of newspaper propaganda and the consequences of conflict when diplomacy was ignored.

Japanese intelligentsia still had resentment from decades earlier when Commodore Matthew C. Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the nation to become internationally focused. Military war hawks suffered from hubris after victories in the Russo-Japanese War and engagements in Manchuria, Korea and Southeast Asia.

"Isoroku" tells the story clearly, focusing on key events and battles, as well as insightful vignettes showing Tokyo and Nagaoka, Yamamoto's hometown. Parts of the film ring a bit unrealistic, particularly some of the computer-generated imagery, but the portrayal of history seems objective and honest.

Yamamoto admitted the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway were miscalculated failures.

In addition to the history, this film reveals Yamamoto's personality and relationships. We see his turmoil and personal anguish – and finally his acceptance of his place in world events. 

The movie is available now on DVD, with English subtitles. 

Gem-like quotes from the admiral read today as warnings, admonitions and resignation to reality:
  • "Once you start a war, there's no turning back."
  • "The soldier's most important duty is to finish the war he starts."
  • "Even robbers are scared to walk home."
  • "If you don't trace things back to their source you can overlook the essentials."
  • "The national defense ... is to provide requisite armed forces, but also to grow national strength, while using diplomacy to evade war. That is the essence of national defense."
  • "If the worst should happen, the young must rebuild our nation. Train the young."
During his life Yamamoto pledged his loyalty to the people and nation, not to politicians.

The film concludes with an embrace of an America-Japan partnership and commitment to democracy after the war with open eyes, ears and hearts.

This film also stars Hiroshi Tamaki, Akira Emoto, Toshiro Yanagiba, Hiroshi Abe, Eisaku Yoshida, Kippei Shina, Ikuji Nakamura, Takeo Nakahara, Teruyuki Kagawa, Mieko Harada, Asaka Seto, Lena Tanaka, Nobuko Miyamoto, Mitsugoro Bando and Shunji Igarashi.

Filmmakers imagine the last few minutes of Yamamoto's life when he and his close aides were shot down over the Solomon Islands by American Army Air Corps pilots on orders of President Franklin Roosevelt. Yamamoto is shown stoically accepting his fate, holding the handle of his katana (samurai sword).

According to producer Shohei Kotaki, "Today, I believe we should learn from the past, and to live every day with true honesty and integrity, for the sake of world peace and a better future. I shall be grateful and honored if the film "Isoroku" can contribute to creating a more peaceful world."

Thank you to Librarian Connie Lashway for recommending this film to me. Support your local library!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Presidential Challenges: JFK 100

By Bill Doughty

This Memorial Day coincides with the 100th birthday of a U.S. Navy World War II hero and the 35th president of the United States: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

JFK challenged Americans to serve their nation and to work toward greater equality and justice. He saw hope in the future: "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans."

Now his daughter, former U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, is ensuring her father's memory and legacy is remembered and honored. She, herself, is passing the torch to another generation.

Beginning this Memorial Day weekend, Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is presenting JFK 100: Milestones and Mementos – an opportunity to connect with his life, achievements and ideals.

From the JFK Library: "Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her children, Rose, Tatiana, and Jack, reflect on how 100 years after his birth, their father and grandfather continues to inspire others to work, fight, and believe in a better world."

Caroline Kennedy is author or editor of numerous books on history, constitutional law, poetry and patriotism.

Here are some poems for the next generation from her beautiful compilation, "Poems to Learn by Heart" (Disney Hyperion, 2013), with paintings by Jon J Muth. This sampling is selected for Memorial Day, as we remember service members who gave their lives for our freedom and in service to their nation.

Shiloh: A Requiem, April 1862
(Herman Melville)

Skimming lightly, wheeling still, 
      The swallows fly low 
Over the field in clouded days, 
      The forest-field of Shiloh— 
Over the field where April rain 
Solaced the parched ones stretched in pain 
Through the pause of night 
That followed the Sunday fight 
      Around the church of Shiloh— 
The church so lone, the log-built one, 
That echoed to many a parting groan 
            And natural prayer 
      Of dying foemen mingled there— 
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve— 
      Fame or country least their care: 
(What like a bullet can undeceive!) 
      But now they lie low, 
While over them the swallows skim, 
      And all is hushed at Shiloh.

What Are Heavy?
(Christina Rossetti)

What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? today and tomorrow:
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep ? the ocean and truth.

(Robert Frost)

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean -
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition. 

(Janet S. Wong)

I pledge acceptance
of the views,
so different,
that make us America

To listen, to look,
to think, and to learn

One people
sharing the earth responsible
for liberty
and justice
for all.

We remember JFK, his strong connection with the Navy, and his pursuit of "liberty and justice for all" on his 100th birthday with these photos:

President John F. Kennedy and others watch television coverage of the lift-off of astronaut Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr. aboard "Freedom 7," on the first US manned sub-orbital flight. L-R: Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; Special Assistant to the President for National Security McGeorge Bundy; Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson; Special Assistant to the President Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; Chief of Staff of the United States Navy Admiral Arleigh Burke; President Kennedy; First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Office of the President’s Secretary, White House, Washington, D.C. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy presents Distinguished Service Medal to Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, Chief of Staff of the United States Navy. Looking on (L – R): Naval Aide to the President Commander Tazewell Shepard, Jr. (far left); Congressman Daniel J. Flood (Pennsylvania, partially hidden); Roberta Burke, wife of Admiral Burke; General Lyman Lemnitzer, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (behind and between President Kennedy and Admiral Burke); others unidentified. Rose Garden, White House, Washington, D.C. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy hands a diploma to an unidentified cadet at the United States Naval Academy commencement ceremony, Annapolis, Maryland. Chief of Staff of the United States Navy Admiral Arleigh A. Burke is seated on the stage, fifth from the left. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy presents a posthumous medal for Lieutenant Commander Victor A. Prather, Jr., (United States Navy) to his widow, Virginia Merritt Prather. Prather’s children, Victor Alonzo III and Marla Lee, stand in front. Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
President John F. Kennedy meets with Harold Russell, National Commander of American Veterans (AMVETS), in the Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C. They hold a pamphlet entitled “1102 American Heroes: Are They Forgotten?” produced by the AMVETS to encourage legislators to fund the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy (center) greets a referee and team captains for the coin toss prior to the Army-Navy Football Game (United States Military Academy Cadets versus United States Naval Academy Midshipmen). John Hewitt of Navy stands at left; Mike Casp of Army stands at right. Associate Press Secretary, Andrew T. Hatcher, stands at far right (face partially hidden). Municipal Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (White House photograph)
President John F. Kennedy's visits the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, April 1962 and looks through the periscope aboard USS Thomas Edison (SSBN-610).
(Photo from National Archives.)
President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) speaks by radiotelephone to the crew of the submarine USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619) from the deck of the United States Naval ship USS Observation Island (EAG-154), at sea off the coast of Florida. Left to right: three unidentified military personnel; Deputy Commander of the Submarine Force of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Admiral Vernon L. Lowrance; Commanding Officer of the USS Observation Island, Captain Roderick O. Middleton (in back, partially hidden); President Kennedy (wearing a windbreaker bearing the insignias of USS Observation Island and USS Andrew Jackson presented as a gift from the crews of both ships); Director of Special Projects (USN), Rear Admiral I. J. Galantin; and two unidentified sailors. The President sailed aboard the ship to view a Polaris A-2 missile launch demonstration from the submarine. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy (center) speaks with U.S. Navy SEAL team members on the pier at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, before boarding the USS Northampton (CC-1) for an overnight cruise to view U.S. Atlantic Fleet exercises. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy (center) shakes hands with an unidentified United States Navy pilot on the hangar deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, at sea off the coast of North Carolina. Admiral Robert L. Dennison, Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Command (CINCLANT), Commander in Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, and Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic (SACLANT), stands at far left; Naval Aide to the President Captain Tazewell Shepard, Jr. (in profile, partially hidden), stands right of Admiral Dennison. President Kennedy delivered remarks from the hangar deck after observing U.S. Atlantic Fleet exercises. (White House photograph)
President John F. Kennedy (center) greets Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, at a military reception in their honor. Also pictured: Military Aide to the President, General Chester V. Clifton; Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell Shepard; Associate Press Secretary, Andrew T. Hatcher; Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy; First Lady’s Social Secretary, Letitia Baldrige; Deputy Secretary of Defense, Roswell L. Gilpatric; Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara; and Secretary of the Navy, Fred Korth. Rose Garden, White House, Washington, D.C. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy visits with U.S. Navy officers. Left to right: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) officer, Commander Irene Wolensky; Director of WAVES, Captain Winifred Quick Collins; and President Kennedy. Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy (center, wearing sunglasses) exits a United States Marine Corps helicopter upon his arrival aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34), during a visit to the U.S. Pacific Fleet at sea off the coast of San Diego, California. Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth follows behind President Kennedy; U.S. Navy sailors render honors. (White House photograph)
President John F. Kennedy (seated in high-back chair at right) and other distinguished guests watch U.S. Pacific Fleet demonstrations from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), at sea off the coast of San Diego, California; a North American Vigilante bomber jet aircraft (with tail number 150823) sits on the deck in the background. Front row, left to right: Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth (pointing up towards the sky); Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT), Admiral John H. Sides; President Kennedy; Governor of California, Edmund G. “Pat” Brown; Senator Clair Engle (California); Under Secretary of the Navy, Paul "Red" Fay; and Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy visits the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii June 9, 1963. Also pictured: Governor John A. Burns of Hawaii; Senator Daniel Inouye (Hawaii); Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC), Admiral Harry D. Felt; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, Jr.; and Naval Aide to the President, Captain Tazewell Shepard. (JFK Library)
President John F. Kennedy (right)meets with Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell D. Taylor (far left).  McNamara and  Taylor reported to President Kennedy on their recent survey trip to South Vietnam. Oval Office, White House, Washington, D.C.
President John F. Kennedy and others listen to a bugle player during Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Administrator of the Veterans Administration (VA), General John S. Gleason (face obscured), stands right of bugler. (JFK Library)
Military officials arrive at the White House prior to the funeral procession of President John F. Kennedy. Those pictured include: Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Curtis E. LeMay; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maxwell D. Taylor; Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General Earle G. Wheeler; Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General David M. Shoup; Naval Aide to President Kennedy, Captain Tazewell Shepard; Air Force Aide to President Kennedy, Brigadier General Godfrey T. McHugh; Military Aide to President Kennedy, General Chester V. Clifton. A member of the United States Navy color guard holds a flag at left. North Lawn driveway, White House, Washington, D.C. (JFK Library)
USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) Underway during carrier airwing qualifications in the Northern Puerto Rican Operations Area, December 10, 1996. (Photo by PH2c Scott A. Moak, USN. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC.)
Over the past eight years Navy Reads has published posts on "Profiles in Courage" and "PT-109," showing how President Kennedy overcame challenges and kept his focus on freedom, equality and justice for future generations.